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Online Comics => Roswell, Texas => Topic started by: Sphynx on April 15, 2008, 07:42:35 pm

Title: Color Dead Tree Edition?
Post by: Sphynx on April 15, 2008, 07:42:35 pm
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I saw the Reason advert for Roswell, TX (I subscribe) and got excited, until I saw the:
Quote
... B/W pages with a full-color cover.
part. Are there any plans to put out a "Select" or "Limited" edition with Color interior pages?

If you looking for votes or prices, I'd pay at least $40 - $50 for a color version. After reading the serialization online (I've been devoted), I'm not sure I want a black and white hard copy, even at $12.95 + S&H.
Title: Re: Color Dead Tree Edition?
Post by: DarianW on April 23, 2008, 08:05:49 pm
I was definitely disappointed by the b&w.  I'd probably pay $40 for a color version.
Title: Re: Color Dead Tree Edition?
Post by: Scott on April 23, 2008, 09:29:50 pm
When I worked up the budget for printing the book I found that the cheapest we could price a full-color trade pb would be $27. We know there are some passionate fans who would would pay $35-40 for a quality, full-color, coffee-table book, but are there enough to justify the print run? To even make a $35 price point we'd have to print at minimum 2,500 copies and sell at least 2200 of them.

So, seeking to find the broadest possible audience for the book, and mindful that the economy is faltering, we opted to go the inexpensive route, and offer a black-and-white book. I went to considerable effort to make the conversion from color to black-and-white as attractive as could be done, and those who have seen the results tell me I've done well.

Now, if we can sell a respectable number of copies of this black-and-white version, we can go back and print a "deluxe" full-color version, with cover flaps and extra "back-matter" material, at a smaller print run of say, 1,000 (since most of our sunk costs will have been covered by the first run) for the hard-core Smithophiles. So, please, buy this book. In fact, at the low price-point you can buy extra copies to give to friends as gifts. The paper quality is high and the binding is solid -- you won't be embarrassed to gift this book, I promise you.

Title: Re: Color Dead Tree Edition?
Post by: Rocketman on April 24, 2008, 11:30:54 am
Scott:
     Just curious about this but did you check to see what a CD version with the individual pages in color would cost per unit?  ???
Title: Re: Color Dead Tree Edition?
Post by: Scott on April 28, 2008, 12:22:04 am
No, I have not looked into pricing CD-ROMs. I don't know anyone else who sells their stories that way, or have any idea how to market that, or any idea how many copies I could sell in that format. I'm also concerned about piracy, if I sell electronic copies in full-resolution.
Title: Re: Color Dead Tree Edition?
Post by: KBCraig on April 28, 2008, 10:40:04 pm
How about POD?
Title: Re: Color Dead Tree Edition?
Post by: Leviathan on April 30, 2008, 01:47:16 pm
One that I know of just off the top of my head is Girl Genius (http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/index.php), a funny gaslamp steampunk comic.  They sell high resolution PDFs (http://comics.drivethrustuff.com/index.php?cPath=674) of the comic, as well as DTF format (http://studiofoglio.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=SF&Category_Code=Girl_Genius) of the graphic novels.  They don't seem to suffer piracy issues, though afaik printing and content extraction are disabled on the sale PDFs.

I will say that I'm frankly stunned and amazed by the Libertarian ideology being displayed in that post, though  :o Copyright and patent are government fiats, more about control of innovation than anything else.  Without a government there initiating force against infringement of this "right", you'd be stuck trying to convince an arbiter that despite no property having been removed from your custody you are nevertheless a victim of theft.  I mean, really!  Copyright at its basest is little more than that.

Next up, the popularity issue.  I see 1392 members showing on the forums.  What's the hit count per day/week/month/year on the site?  And for Roswell specifically?  I am not disparaging the comics, I enjoy the comics on the site for the most part (even if the superhero genre isn't my favorite, sorry aditandimedh).  But do you really believe there's enough existing fan base out there to support a massive piracy effort?

Lastly, studies have shown that a vast majority of downloaders go on to purchase "legitimate" copies from the artists they actually end up enjoying.  The major exception is people who like the one song from an album, but really don't care for any of the others they hear and so don't end up paying for the album just to have the one song.  Mises, also, has noted that distributing their ebooks actually increases the sales of the paper versions of the books in question.  So, let's say that you distribute (for some pay amount) PDFs or something of Roswell and/or Probability Broach.  And the worst case scenario, they get massively pirated, happens.  What that would mean is that you'd have gotten free advertising for the other products you actually do sell, including the paper comics, knick knacks and even the "officially sanctioned" copies most likely, while at the same time spreading the ideology presented in the stories just that much further.  Seriously, win-win.  And for the record, I can't find Girl Genius on any of the warez sights I know and love, heh.  If Roswell (or Probability Broach) for that matter pops up on them, I will seriously cheer for you guys.  Because it means that people outside of the usual crowd will have gotten exposed to the ideas, and you'll probably be getting the revenue stream for your other goods at the least that would result in.
Title: Re: Color Dead Tree Edition?
Post by: wdg3rd on May 02, 2008, 09:24:17 pm
I have no problem with a monochrome edition other than that Jen's excellent efforts will be minimized.  Yes, of course I have every panel of the low-resolution on-line version saved on my hard drive.  I'm thinking of having a slide-show of that and a couple of other BHP works running on my laptop behind me while I'm preparing chili at Porcfest next month.  (Information will be provided to anybody interested where to find the books).  Of course, I could just do a slide-show of my porn collection instead (some of it is historic -- I've been on-line since long before Al Gore invented the Internet, so some of the pictures are incredibly low-res).
Title: Re: Color Dead Tree Edition?
Post by: Scott on May 02, 2008, 10:05:57 pm
We are in fact looking at other options, including POD and e-books. It's just that timing is important, and so is knowing how to market the different formats in such way as to maximize sales. It's just my brother and I doing this, and we have a lot on our plates. Please be patient.
Title: Re: Color Dead Tree Edition?
Post by: Leviathan on May 02, 2008, 11:23:40 pm
I was just responding to the bogeyman of all online mediums, the dread threat that the work will be pirated. And from my knowledge of the subject, even when the fear that it'll be spread around by somebody other than the author ends up happening, it usually doesn't end up being bad news for the author. Who it's been really bad for are the "mainstream" "artists", since the studios cease to be able to control distribution channels. Most of the music I like I wouldn't even know exists except for mp3s and filesharing. I honestly had never heard of L. Neil Smith before I found the graphic novel online. And if you want a little pep? I think your work was one of the influences that moved me from the small side of minarchist to anarcho-capitalist.
Title: Re: Color Dead Tree Edition?
Post by: Rocketman on May 03, 2008, 11:53:32 am
Leviathan:
     Your not the only one that's been influenced by L. Neil.  Back in 1988-89 I think it was, I was going out with a woman who was very heavily into both Sci-fi and firearms.  We used to go out shooting in the everglades about every other weekend.  One day she gave me a copy of the "Venus Belt" and told me that it was the second book of a series by someone named "L. Neil Smith".  I loved the book and thought to myself that his beliefs were very similar to my own.  In time I became a Libertarian because I was exposed to that book and I've convinced several other people that I know that the libertarian way was the only way that the corrupting influences of government can properly be controlled.  I ofter wonder what would I be like if I had never read that book.  ???
Title: Re: Color Dead Tree Edition?
Post by: Leviathan on May 04, 2008, 06:48:44 pm
I've been having trouble finding easily-accessible copies of Smith's books, myself.  I managed to find Henry Martyn and The Forge of the Elders, and that's all she wrote, folks.  I'll be making some ebay/amazon trawls if I can get ahead of my expenses.

I do have to make one request of the author and artist.... After having read some of the studio foglio comics, and then finding "Xxxenophile" elsewhere, and then ending up running accross this page of roswell (http://www.bigheadpress.com/roswell?page=633) while copying the low-resolution online version to harddrive (I think I managed to block it out of my mind), I'm forced to beg y'all to please never ever ever try to make a little bit of extra scratch by producing lamvin porn... Please... I don't think my sanity could bear even knowing it exists...
Title: Re: Color Dead Tree Edition?
Post by: Rocketman on May 05, 2008, 08:13:09 am
Leviathan:
     I picked up ALL of my copies of L. Neil by hitting used book stores in my travels when I was doing contract engineering work and moving around the eastern half of the country.  It's a little like gold placer mining.  You have to move a lot of dirt before you pick up a nugget or two but it's worth it.   ;D
Title: Re: Color Dead Tree Edition?
Post by: Scott on May 09, 2008, 04:28:35 pm
I managed to get a complete collection of Neil's works back in 2000 by a combination of abebooks.com and asking around the various Yahoo! lists devoted to Neil and his works. Don't know how difficult that would be today. Many of the older works have gone out of print and in fact Neil has been busy getting rights reverted to him.

Title: Re: Color Dead Tree Edition?
Post by: enemyofthestate on May 28, 2008, 11:00:14 pm
One that I know of just off the top of my head is Girl Genius (http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/index.php), a funny gaslamp steampunk comic.  They sell high resolution PDFs (http://comics.drivethrustuff.com/index.php?cPath=674) of the comic, as well as DTF format (http://studiofoglio.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=SF&Category_Code=Girl_Genius) of the graphic novels.  They don't seem to suffer piracy issues, though afaik printing and content extraction are disabled on the sale PDFs.
Which would stop an experienced cracker about 5 minutes at the outside.  The printing and extraction restrictions are cooperative -- more like the the country codes or "Operation currently forbidden by Disc" message on DVD's.  They only work if the software respects the restriction.  Of course, most readers will be using Adobe which does enforce the rules laid out by the author.

BTW, before you decide on the copyright issue you might want to hunt up Carl Bussjaeger and get his take on the subject.  Having his novel "Net Assets" posted all over the Net didn't do him much good.  I am pretty firmly on the Intellectual Property is not really property side in the debate but his experience taught me that there is not going to be an easy answer to the question.  I think there is an answer but, like the GPL, it's scary to those who live off of IP.

On an even gloomier note, the jump in percentge of IP in corporate assets make me even less sanguine about a future for stateless societies than I was ten years ago.
Title: Re: Color Dead Tree Edition?
Post by: Greybird on June 03, 2008, 04:20:49 am
[...] So, please, buy this book. In fact, at the low price-point you can buy extra copies to give to friends as gifts. The paper quality is high and the binding is solid you won't be embarrassed to gift this book, I promise you.

It's not a matter of being "embarrassed." With having read it in color for which generosity, once again, I thank you I can't see how I can recommend it, or give it, to anybody who would end up missing out on that full experience. To me, it's not that far from, if this were 1808, giving them a bowdlerized volume of Shakespeare. Too much of the depth and grist of the tale is left out.

It's also a matter of the marketplace. Volumes of new B&W manga material sell in huge quantities in Japan because that comics-buying public is used to it. The only such material I've seen have any reasonable sales here is reprints of 40-to-50-year-old American comics that have already had two or three releases. New material that isn't in color doesn't sell, period.

I don't like this any more than you do, I don't see any "rational" reasons for such a matter of taste, but it's nonetheless a current reality. Nothing would delight me more than to see Big Head Press end up breaking this mold, but I'm not buying a B&W version, and I can't see that many others changing their habits to do so.
Title: Re: Color Dead Tree Edition?
Post by: Scott on June 04, 2008, 08:23:22 pm
Quote
It's also a matter of the marketplace. Volumes of new B&W manga material sell in huge quantities in Japan because that comics-buying public is used to it. The only such material I've seen have any reasonable sales here is reprints of 40-to-50-year-old American comics that have already had two or three releases. New material that isn't in color doesn't sell, period.

Excuse me, but you don't know what you're talking about.

Only within the narrow genre of superhero comics does your statement have any validity at all -- and in fact I haven't even seen any American comics from 1958-1968 reprinted in black-and-white. Can you point to a specific example?

Outside of the superhero genre, the majority of American graphic novels are printed in black-and-white. Art Spiegelman's Maus. The Hernandez Bros' Love & Rockets. Peter Bagge's Hate. Terry Moore's Strangers In Paradise. Dave Sim's Cerebus. Craig Thompson's Blankets. Alex Robinson's Box Office Poison. Paul Pope's 100%. Brian Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim series. Charles Burns' Black Hole.  These are all strong-sellers and they aren't in color.

And those black-and-white Japanese manga books sell very well in the United States, especially to younger people who aren't interested in the DC Universe.

But if color comics are the only kind you'll accept, then just be patient -- in about a year you can get either a nice deluxe coffee-table book for forty bucks, or a print-on-demand trade paperback for $30, or maybe an e-book for $10.

Title: Re: Color Dead Tree Edition?
Post by: Rocketman on June 05, 2008, 06:49:25 am
Quote

Only within the narrow genre of superhero comics does your statement have any validity at all -- and in fact I haven't even seen any American comics from 1958-1968 reprinted in black-and-white. Can you point to a specific example?

Scott:
I'm not sure if you were exempting superhero comics or not in that statement you made, but I have in my posession three superhero comics printed in 2005 originally printed in the 1961-62 timeframe. Specifically they are Fantastic Four #1,2 & 3 bound together in a 6 1/2 x 5 inch mini book from Family Dollar Stores as well as Spiderman #1, 2 & 3 and Avengers #1, 2 & 3, all the same size. The price on the cover was a dollar apiece but I picked them up in the close out bin for 25 cents each approximately eight months ago.
Title: Re: Color Dead Tree Edition?
Post by: paulr on June 05, 2008, 11:28:55 pm

Scott- have you made any progress on getting a full color version out? Like others, I am really not into B&W after seeing the gorgeous color edition of The Probability Broach. I was reaching for my wallet when I say the B&W notation. (Hey, I'm not picking on you, it's your property to market any darn way you want. :)

In any case, let me recommend looking at Baen.com; they sell unprotected e-book copies of almost everything they print, and Jim (bless his soul) never lost a dime on it. Amazing...

In any event, please do setup a mail list or some other way of announcing when you do get a color version available, either in print or as an e-book. I might just have missed seeing such a list when I scanned your site here for it; if so, sorry and point me to it please?

The serialized installments are a very cool idea, but I would far rather just buy the thing.  Migt be able to market it on iTunes even.

Come to think of it, with the cover on the book, buying it as an ebook might be safer. My partner is a very jealous lady, and shoots quite well. :)

-Paul
 
Title: Re: Color Dead Tree Edition?
Post by: Scott on June 07, 2008, 02:59:28 am
Rocketman:  Okay, I hadn't seen the b&w Marvel reprints. The fact that you found them for a quarter of cover price in a close-out bin indicates they didn't sell particularly well.

Paulr: The black-and-white version has just gone on sale and we don't want to cannibalize sales of those by coming out with a color version, in any format, too soon. Personally I'd prefer to be able to produce a nice, quality color hardback. But if the b&w books we printed up just sit unsold in a warehouse for the better part of a year, then it's going to be an e-book. We'll announce plans on our website and I'll find a way to otherwise notify everyone who's posted on the forum.
Title: Re: Color Dead Tree Edition?
Post by: Greybird on August 05, 2008, 05:54:04 am
After a return to the site from having seen Roswell advertised on Lew Rockwell's blog ...

Color editions aren't "the only kind I'll accept." I'm sorry if I gave that impression. It's just that they're all I feel I can justify buying for Roswell, specifically, having experienced it already in a stellar colored version.

I admit to being bemused by your saying, repeatedly, that we should "be patient." I'll certainly be that. If, though, you weren't intending to cultivate a few somewhat impatient comments and requests from those who admire and support your products, and want to encourage your expansion and success ... well, why would you have such a forum as this one? {rueful smile}

[...] Only within the narrow genre of superhero comics does your statement have any validity at all [...]

Erhm, "narrow" it may be esthetically, but they comprise the vast bulk of such sales. Anything that's not involving DC or Marvel superheroics, or Dark Horse works built on properties such as "Star Wars," is a tail being wagged by the nearly sole national dog, Diamond Distributors. I see that on the shelves of every comics shop.

Artistry and sales volume are hard to routinely match. Those comics shops' proprietors I talk to don't enjoy that being true, nor do I, nor, I suspect, do you. Yet as far as commercial impact is concerned, Spiegelman, Terry Moore, the Hernandez Bros., et al., share a fraction of the sales and availability of, say, even the much-earlier-reprinted DC Showcase B&W editions. (To give a current example for your other question.)

Aside from what I've been told about this by contacts in publishing, I certainly have had highly spotty experiences across the continent in finding such non-spandex works in general emporia like Borders. (Where I do insist on perusing them before going to Amazon.) Ye gads, I can't even find Neil Smith's word-only novels consistently.

The many fine titles you cite and publish carry a great deal of critical and fan cachet. Many are feeding a boom in moviemaking, always ravenous for vivid stories. Ones that, here, are pre-storyboarded, saving prep time and persuasive effort with financiers.

In terms of a national book marketplace, they aren't "strong sellers" beyond genre buyers. Still, that's a genuinely thriving niche, as I've seen reflected in such institutions as Comic-Con, which has little to do these days with classic "comics," but markets the hell out of every aspect of the related memes.
Title: Re: Color Dead Tree Edition?
Post by: Scott on August 14, 2008, 12:28:56 am
The point being, this is not a superhero story. We're not competing for that audience with this book. We have another book coming up. LA MUSE, which has appeal to that audience and it will be printed in color and marketed more with the spandex fans in mind.

We had a choice between publishing a black-and-white book for $13 or a color book for $27. And this book has sold more in its first two months than any of our other books did in a similar period.